Your Body

A foam roller can be a dancer's best friend—when it's used properly. We break down the basics of foam rolling to keep your hips, calves and hamstrings (and everything in between) happy.

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Your Body

Spring sunshine has us all craving icy treats. Instead of reaching for a sugar-loaded milkshake or Frappuccino, opt for a chilled beverage with more to offer.

The smoothie is an excellent vehicle for the nutrients dancers need to power through the day. From a pre-class snack to a post-class treat, there’s a recipe for every occasion. We looked to Marie Scioscia, a registered dietitian with The Ailey School in NYC, for three time-specific smoothies that pack a punch.

(Photo by Antonio Muñoz Palomares/Thinkstock)

The Rapid Recovery

Drink this smoothie after dancing to help minimize soreness and fatigue.

Ingredients:

1 cup nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt

1/2 banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup orange juice

Add crushed ice and blend.

Scioscia says: “This carbohydrate-rich smoothie helps restore energy to your tired muscles—but the touch of protein keeps you from getting a sugar rush.”

The Energy Booster

Drink this smoothie before class for sustained stamina and focus.

Ingredients:

1 cup nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1/2 banana

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup orange juice (optional)

Add crushed ice and blend.

Scioscia says: “The balance of protein (from the yogurt and peanut butter) and carbohydrates (from the yogurt and fruit) promotes the mental focus and slow, sustained rise in energy you need for a good class.”

The No-Sick-Day Slurp

When you feel a cold coming on, drink this smoothie to amp up your immune system.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice, soy or almond milk

1 whole ripe banana

4 fresh strawberries

1–2 tablespoons powdered brewer’s yeast

1 tablespoon black-cherry concentrate

1 tablespoon aloe vera juice

1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

1 tablespoon powdered greens (like Green Foods Organic Green Fusion or Catie’s Organic Gluten Free Greens)

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses*

1 teaspoon raw, organic bee pollen

Add crushed ice and blend.

Scioscia says: “The ingredients in this smoothie ease digestion, and its B vitamins, antioxidants, iron and healthy fats fight infection and reduce inflammation.”

*Blackstrap molasses is the darkest form of molasses (a by-product of boiling sugarcane three times). It’s slightly bitter, but it contains the highest nutrient content of any molasses.

(Photo by Zelijko Bozic/Thinkstock)

Hariography-Ready Hair

Tease it, slick it, iron it, pin it—dancers put their hair through a lot. The combination of product build-up and heat damage can leave you with limp and lifeless locks. For shiny, voluminous hair you can really whip back and forth, give your ’do a detox.

For hair that’s dull, limp or has split ends, try…

…an egg in your shampoo.Combine 1 egg with a quarter-size dollop of shampoo. Run the mixture through your hair and scalp and let it sit for about 5 minutes before thoroughly rinsing with lukewarm water. The amino acids in the egg will enhance your hair cuticles’ strength, volume and shine.

…a weekly deep-conditioning treatment. After washing your hair, coat it from scalp to tip in a deep treatment conditioner (such as Pantene Pro-V Weekly Rehab Crème or Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner). Let the treatment sit for 10 to 30 minutes before rinsing it out with lukewarm water. Deep conditioners also work to restore and strengthen your hair cuticles.

For product build-up, try…

…shampooing with baking soda. Combine 1 tablespoon of baking soda and a quarter-size dollop of shampoo. Scrub the mixture through your hair, paying special attention to your roots and scalp, where product, dirt and oil tend to get trapped. Baking soda is a natural exfoliant.

…rinsing with apple cider vinegar. Combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 cup of water and pour the mixture over your hair between shampooing and conditioning. Let the mixture soak into your hair for a minute before rinsing. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps clean out product build-up and boost shine.

Did you know?

You shouldn’t wear a thong under your leotard. As you dance, thongs create friction

where your skin is extremely delicate, which may cause irritation and sores. Thongs can also carry bacteria from back to front—especially when you’re sweaty—which can cause urinary tract infections. Plus, most thongs are made out of spandex, which can trap moisture and lead to yeast infections. Turns out, going commando with breathable tights may be the best option for your nether regions.

Shopping for a new foam roller? Choose one with a textured surface, which is

more effective at stimulating the nerve endings in your muscle tissue than a smooth surface.

 

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